Super Rugby: Reds v Rebels match preview
Last Updated: 16/05/14 10:52am
The Reds host the Rebels in an Australian Conference clash at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday looking to halt a five match losing run.
The latest loss for Richard Graham's side was a 57-29 home defeat to the Crusaders and they last tasted success back in week 7.
However, history is on the Reds' side given they have won all six of their clashes with the Rebels in Super Rugby, making them the only Australian Super Rugby team to remain undefeated against the Rebels since they joined the competition in 2011.
Opponents the Rebels are also out of form at present, going into this clash on the back of two home defeats - a 25-15 reverse to the Hurricanes which followed a 22-16 loss to the Sharks.
In team news, Reds flanker Beau Robinson will earn his 50th Queensland cap in an unchanged starting side.
While Robinson started his Super Rugby career with the Waratahs, he has played the majority of his rugby in Queensland, including being an integral part of the 2011 championship-winning team.
Reds head coach Graham praised Robinson, saying: "Beau has worked incredibly hard to get to this point.
"No one could ever question his commitment to Queensland and the Reds jersey. He's a very passionate player and has always given everything for the team. This will mean a significant amount to him."
Graham said the team was looking forward to a spirited clash with the Rebels.
"I thought the team played some very good rugby in the first half last weekend against the Crusaders. We continue to work hard and there is an incredibly strong desire to correct our path and get back to winning games," he said.
"We know what to expect when it comes to the Rebels. I know Tony (McGahan) well and it's obvious to anyone who has watched Super Rugby this year that he has turned the Rebels into a very physical and strong defensive side."
Graham says his side want to continue their winning record against the Rebels.
"The squad are aware of this and clearly part of the motivation will be to maintain this record," said Graham.
"We had more than 34,000 fans at our match last weekend, which was the largest crowd of any Super Rugby match this season, our fans have stuck by us and we intend to repay them for their support with a strong performance this weekend."
For the Rebels, two-time Super Rugby title-winning prop Toby Smith has been named in the starting XV.
Smith has missed the past two weeks with a shoulder injury, but has recovered to replace Cruze Ah-Nau, who drops to the bench after impressing in his first two career starts.
Japanese internationals Male Sau and Shota Horie departed for Rugby World Cup qualifiers last weekend, and are also replaced in the team.
Sau's place on the right wing is taken by Tom Kingston, with Telusa Veainu added to the squad, while Samoa international Steve Fualau replaces Horie as back-up hooker.
In the final change to the squad, young fly-half/full-back Jack Debreczeni has a chance to make his Super Rugby debut.
The pivot has overcome injury setbacks in his first season of professional rugby, but has played three straight club games to be elevated to the bench.
Don't miss any of the action on Saturday as the Reds host the Rebels live on Sky Sports 4HD from 10.30am.
Reds: 15 Harris, 14 Shipperley, 13 Tapuai, 12 A Fainga'a, 11 Taulagi, 10 Cooper, 9 Genia; 1 Daley, 2 Hanson, 3 Holmes, 4 Simmons (c), 5 Horwill, 6 Browning, 7 Robinson, 8 Schatz.
Replacements: 16 S Fainga'a, 17 Anae, 18 Owen, 19 O'Donoghue, 20 McDuling, 21 Frisby, 22 Lucas, 23 Davies.
Rebels: 15 Woodward, 14 Kingston, 13 Ellison, 12 Inman, 11 English, 10 Hegarty, 9 Burgess; 1 Smith, 2 Leafa, 3 Weeks, 4 Neville, 5 Jones, 6 Fainga'a, 7 Fuglistaller, 8 Higginbotham (c).
Replacements: 16 Fualau, 17 Ah-Nau, 18 Alo-Emilie, 19 Pyle, 20 McMahon, 21 Meehan, 22 Debreczeni, 23 Veainu.